Friday, 25 May 2018

Oxford comma


[Image from Pixabay]

Way back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth this dame learnt how to use commas. Now I am very aware that I quite often miss them out here [my proofreading skills are rather slap dash and a little lacking at times these days], but technically I do know how to use them correctly and for many years, I taught others how to do so. Surely rule number one was always

Never use a comma after the word "and" in a sentence.

However, I have just been told of a thing called an Oxford comma which apparently turns this rule on its head. You can use a comma after the word "and" after all and still be correct. Generally it's not used, but it derives its name from the printers, readers and editors of the Oxford University Press who traditionally used it. Seeing as I'm a bit of an old fossil who's rather stuck in her ways I shall be studiously ignoring it.

Arilx

7 comments:

  1. It's something I've adopted due to social media. It turns out I know lots of rather annoying people who fancy themselves as grammar experts. For example, were I to write "I went out today and ate tofish and chips and a cake" doubtless some smarty pants would comment "oooh, tofish and chips and cake on the same plate, that sounds awful". Sticking in the comma prevents this, and keeps my blood pressure stable!

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    Replies
    1. There are some people who get very het up about other people's use of grammar and feel the need to correct them. Unless it's in context it's a rather rude practice I feel.
      Arilx

      Delete
  2. I’m aware of the Oxford comma but like you I don’t use it; it looks a bit untidy. As to proof reading, for reasons I don’t understand, it is very difficult to proof read from a computer screen. I always advised students to print off their final draft and proof read from a hard copy. This invariably shows up a myriad of typos etc that you don’t pick up reading from a screen. It would be irksome to print if a blog post first before final posting though!

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    Replies
    1. I do manage to catch some of my cock-ups, but alas many more get under the radar. Something to do with writing when I'm tired in the evening I think!
      Arilx

      Delete
  3. I have recently become acquainted with the Oxford comma which can be put BEFORE the word "and" after having a small discussion with OH. He gave me the perfect example which went along the lines of "I went on holiday and took the nanny, the maid, and cook" which shows that they are 3 separate people rather than "the maid, the nanny and cook" which could mean just 2 people. As clear as mud but I got it!

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    Replies
    1. Interesting....it fascinates me how language changes over time. Thanks for the additional information Julia
      Arilx

      Delete
  4. Or "I'd like to thank my parents, Tom, and Jane." Not my parents who are called Tom and Jane.

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